Doctor, Did You Know . . .?

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Here are a few fascinating health-related facts and figures that stuck out his week.

“It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.”

—George Bernard Shaw

Numbers, facts, figures, records, data, stats—for sure they must run through a busy doctor’s head all day long. As part of my ongoing search for interesting news for physicians each week, I review a great many e-news.

Here are a few fascinating health-related facts and figures that stuck out his week:


47% — Percentage of US physicians who say they plan to retire sooner than intended (Physicians Foundation)

41% — Percentage of all federal spending last year that went to Medicare and Social Security (Wall Street Journal)

38% — Percentage of Americans who use prescription opioid painkillers (Washington Post)

$78 billion — Annual costs for the overuse, misuse, and abuse of opioid-based painkillers in the US.

31% — Percentage of Americans who use tobacco products (Washington Post)

15% — Percentage decline in Americans’ total consumption of caloric sweeteners like refined cane sugar and high-fructose corn syrup since 1999.

$18,142 — Average annual premiums for family health insurance coverage this year (Kaiser Family Foundation)

55% — Percentage of patients who received at least one dose of antibiotics during their hospital stay, whether it was needed or not (CDCP)

10 million — Number of US adults who seriously thought about committing suicide last year (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

91% — Percentage of Americans with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2015 (US Census Bureau)

2% — Percentage of US doctors are authorized to prescribe the drug buprenorphine which curbs opioid cravings (CNBC)